Georgia Bulldozes Auburn To Stay Undefeated

By Terrance Turner

Oct. 8, 2022

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 08: Daijun Edwards #30 of the Georgia Bulldogs breaks away from Colby Wooden #25 of the Auburn Tigers to score in the first half at Sanford Stadium on October 8, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

This afternoon, the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs (5-0) faced the Auburn Tigers (3-2) at home in Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. After a relatively quiet first half, the Georgia offense exploded in the second half, outscoring Auburn 28-7. Quarterback Stetson Bennett didn’t throw a single touchdown but scored a rushing TD later in the second half, helping jumpstart an offense that came alive late.

Things went awry for Auburn rather quickly after a fake punt went bad. According to the Athens Banner-Herald: “Georgia picked up great field position when an Auburn fake punt was snuffed out by Nolan Smith, who tackled John Samuel Shenker,” who had tried to run with the ball. That gave Georgia the ball at the Auburn 36 late in the first quarter..

The first quarter was scoreless: Georgia kicker Jack Podlesny missed a 47-yard field goal, and Auburn turned the ball over on downs. But the Bulldogs struck paydirt early in the second quarter. Georgia running back Kenny McIntosh scored with a one-yard rush into the end zone. The Bulldogs led 7-0 with 11:40 left in the quarter.

ATHENS, GA – OCTOBER 8: Kenny McIntosh #6 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs for a touchdown during a game between Auburn Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 8, 2022 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
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After a punt by the Tigers, Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey returned the ball 38 yards. Georgia took over at Auburn’s 31-yard line. They went 31 yards in just three plays and under two minutes. Bulldogs running back Daijun Edwards rushed in for the touchdown, putting Georgia ahead by 14 with 8:45 left in the second quarter.

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Auburn quarterback Robby Ashford struggled to lead an offense that got penalties on nearly every drive that half. And then he turned the ball over. While running for it on 3rd down, he fumbled the ball — which was recovered by Georgia defensive lineman Zion Smith. Ashford was visibly frustrated after the play; he slammed his helmet on the ground in anguish. But there was nothing he could do to revive Auburn’s offense — or stop Georgia from leading. Georgia led 14 to nothing at the half.

Auburn got its best chance to score in the third quarter, courtesy of the defense. Bennett fumbled while being sacked from behind, and the Tigers pounced on the ball inside the Georgia 20-yard line. But Auburn only picked up one first down on its drive. Then, instead of going for it on fourth down, Tigers coach Bryan Harsin opted to kick a field goal. That made it 14-3.

The Tigers finally had points on the board. But unfortunately for them, Georgia responded with one of its best drives of the game, going 81 yards in 11 plays. Daijun Edwards scored his second TD of the day from two yards out, and it was a 21-3 game with 7:07 left in the third quarter.

Auburn’s offense continued to struggle and their ensuing drive went nowhere. Georgia took over, and Bennett took off. Finding no one open, he ran 64 yards for the touchdown. It’s the longest run of his career.

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Auburn regained possession. But the Tigers still couldn’t muster up any points on offense, and they had to punt. The Bulldogs got the ball back and went 63 yards in just six plays. Then Edwards rushed into the end zone for his third touchdown of the day.

But the Tigers wouldn’t give up. Just when all seemed lost, Ashford passed to Jarquez Hunter, who spun out of a tackle by three defenders and dashed down the sideline for a 62 yard score. But Georgia answered right back. Bennett handed the ball off to Edwards for what would’ve been his fourth touchdown, but the referee called holding on the offense. Instead, RB Branson Robinson ran in for the TD. The Bulldogs expanded their lead to 32 points as the fourth quarter wore on.

Georgia won in commanding fashion, 42-10. They remain undefeated at 6-0. Stetson Bennett went 22-for-32 and 208 yards. He reflected on the game in a postgame interview.

“It felt like we weren’t having fun in the first half,” he said. “And then, once we started having fun and just playing football — not worrying about stuff, just going out and executing — is when we started to score more points.” He added: “We’ll celebrate this one, and then it’s on to Vandy.” (The Georgia Bulldogs host Vanderbilt at home next weekend.)

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